Health, Life

The Extreme Outcome Complex

the extreme outcome complex anxiety blog


OK so I may have just made that phrase up. It’s my own version of extreme worry. And what I mean in a nutshell is when you go to the worst case scenario and imagine all the 530759 things that could go wrong. Reality check. These things rarely actually happen. But my mind doesn’t care about that, no.

My mind wanders into the most terrifying, extreme outcomes imaginable. Staying in a rainforest? I’ll definitely get hunted by a leopard. Got a rash on my arm? Probably meningitis. The dog’s got cut on his paw, oh god what if he’s got an infection and he dies?

I’ve got a habit of assuming bad things are going to happen, even when there’s no evidence to prove they will. Have you ever worried so much about something, and then the thing you were worrying about didn’t even happen? And you’re like cheers brain, I just wasted all that time worrying about nothing. Arghhh. This needs to change.

Especially as lately I’ve learned a lot about myself, and one of the key takeaways is that I’m actually quite strong. A lot of us are. Who knew? I’ve discussed with my awesome life coach (Antonio Esposito of The Thinking Mind) that one of my issues is that I use worry as a coping mechanism. When it comes to down the hard stuff, I nail it. I knock it out the park and I just get on with things when I have to. Hey, I’m actually a pretty good person to have around in a crisis. But in order to have this strength I have to go through a whole rigmarole of worrying and unhappiness.

But lately I did something and realised I can be strong – and maybe, just maybe, I don’t need to waste all that energy stressing.

But it’s so hard to stop. It feels like it’s a habit wedged in my brain. I’ve taught myself to behave like this for years. That’s not going to be an easy nut to crack. No sir. But that bloody nut is going crack. And I’m the only one who can do it. Not my husband, not my friends, not even my life coach. Because your worries come down to you, to what pesky thoughts you allow to get to you.

I had a challenging event in my life recently which I spent weeks worrying about. Worrying to the point where I felt sick, and I wanted to back out. I made myself and those around me miserable, and all for what? Nothing. I can’t go through my life behaving in this way. Because if 20% of my life is amazing and I’m happy, but the other 80% I spend engulfed with unbearable anxiety and constantly feel distressed, well, that’s a bit pointless isn’t it?

I need to switch these numbers around. Wouldn’t it be amazing if I only worried about stuff 20% of the time, or even better – 5%? At the moment that feels so far away but I’m starting to put the building blocks in place to try to achieve it.

With anxiety it kind of feels like you’re floating around in the ocean, and you never know when the next wave is going to hit.

I can go through months of being absolutely fine, and then there’s something that triggers a fresh wave of terror.

My life coach talks about doing things that offer the right balance of excitement with a little fear, because it’s good to push yourself. I think an important thing to consider is what sort of situations you choose to put yourself in. From now on I’m going to make better choices and consider my happiness before I do things.

I’m going to stop and notice how I’m feeling about certain things, and what sort of internal battle they bring up inside me. There are some things that are worth fighting for, and we all need to continue to push ourselves outside of our comfort zone. But there’s obviously a limit. And I’m getting to know my limits and keep an eye on the thoughts and feelings that go through my head.

I don’t want the extreme outcome complex to be a part of who I am. It’s not a part of me, it’s just something that happens if you choose to obey it. And it’s time for me to wave goodbye to the extreme outcome complex and maybe say hello to the reality check complex.